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DeSantis On Governors Imposing ‘Arbitrary’ Rules: ‘You’re Not A Dictator’ And ‘People Do Have Rights’
Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during a news conference with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, not pictured, in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Photo by Saul Martinez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Thursday, during an appearance on “Fox and Friends,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticized leaders of other states for their “draconian” lockdown policies, and spoke about his state’s own reopening process.

“In Wisconsin, the governor there decided to do stay-at-home orders, and a lot of people were complaining and protesting there,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt said. “The Supreme Court of Wisconsin just struck that down. Do you think some of these governors that are just doing a one-size-fits-all for the entire state, you think they’re being too strict and going too far?”

DeSantis replied, comparing some of the measures to “social control.”

Well, I don’t think any governor has the authority to restrict anyone unless there’s a direct relationship to combating this virus, and if you look around the country, clearly there have been examples of really draconian, arbitrary restrictions that have nothing to do with public health – like you can’t plant a seed in your front yard and your garden, you can’t walk around the neighborhood with your daughter or something like that. So, some of this stuff, I think, has devolved into social control…

The governor continued, saying that he believes those measures are “less effective,” and that Florida “trusted the people to act appropriately, and we’ve had better results than some of the states that you’ve seen.”

“There have absolutely been over-steps, and I think legislatures should really look at this as we go forward,” DeSantis said. “You need to be able to act; there’s certain things that need to be done, but you’re not a dictator, you don’t have unlimited authority, and people do have rights.”

DeSantis was then asked about reopening Florida schools, as the California State University system “plans to cancel all in-person classes for the fall and to continue instruction online,” according to ABC7.

“Why would you give up now? Why would you do that? Of course you’ve got to plan to come back,” the governor said.

“I think we’ll have people on campus, I think that’s the way it should be, and we have an opportunity, too, because those folks, those students are low risk, so you’re able to do this in ways that can be safe,” the governor said. “I trust that our universities will be able to do that.”

Co-host Steve Doocy asked what the state of “big events” will be by August, and DeSantis noted that while he can’t guarantee anything, there’s an eagerness to get to a place “where people are able to live life.”

“We’re doing a very safe, smart, step-by-step approach based on the data, based on what we’re seeing, and I think that’s what folks want to see,” the governor said.

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